Sexual exploitation starts with luring and grooming. This is when someone that you may or may not know makes contact with you on social media or a dating app. At first, they seem nice and friendly, which is how they gain your trust. The luring part is how the exploiter ropes you in to make the connection, and then the grooming happens when they start trying to influence you through compliments, kindness, gifts or money. In this stage, the exploiter usually plays the role of a boyfriend or romantic partner, showering you with the exploiter plays the role of boyfriend, showering you with attention, kindness and affection. These are important qualities in any healthy relationship, but what makes them different in online sexual exploitation is what you may be asked to do in return, like sending photos or doing things you aren’t comfortable doing.
How do exploiters find their targets?
Online sexual exploitation happens in a particular way. Much like the grooming process, it is calculated. Someone looking for their next victim may initially meet you on Instagram, TikTok, Omegle or Snapchat.